The right to keep and bear arms is found in both the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I Section 23 of the Texas Constitution. State law in Texas, however, still places certain restrictions on the exhibition of weapons.
Unlawfully carrying a weapon, often referred to simply as UCW, is a crime that is commonly a misdemeanor but can be a felony offense in certain circumstances. Many people commit this crime unknowingly, and a person’s culpable mental state plays an important role in satisfying the legal definition of a violation.
If you or your loved one were arrested for an alleged unlawfully carrying a weapon offense in the greater Plano area, do not assume that your only option is to plead guilty and hope for the mercy of the court. You have the right to defend yourself against the criminal charges.
Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a) establishes that a person commits the crime of unlawfully carrying a weapon if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun or club and are not:
Under Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-1), an individual also commits unlawfully carrying a weapon if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control at any time in which:
Both of the offenses listed above are classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The crime becomes a third-degree felony if the alleged offense is committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-4) provides that unlawfully carrying a weapon is a Class C misdemeanor when a person:
You will notice that all of these alleged offenses will require a prosecutor to prove that a person acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. These are known as culpable mental states.
Texas Penal Code § 46.03 classifies culpable mental states according to relative degrees, from highest to lowest, as follows:
Possible consequences of a conviction will depend on how your crime has been graded. Depending on the classification, convictions may be punishable as follows:
Some alleged offenders in these cases may be able to argue that the weapons involved in their cases were not in plain view. Some weapons might not satisfy the state definitions for the weapons.
Police may not have had probable cause for a search or an arrest, and some weapons may have been secured through an illegal search and seizure. Also keep in mind that certain people are exempt from UCW provisions, such as certain members of the military, court officials, security officers, and others.
Penal Code Chapter 46. Weapons | Texas Statutes — View the entire chapter of state law dedicated to weapons. Texas Penal Code § 46.01 is dedicated to definitions for various weapons. You can learn more about places weapons are prohibited under Texas Penal Code § 46.03.
Types of Weapons | Federation of American Scientists (FAS) — The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) provides science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. On this section of its website, you can learn more about types of weapons and problems resulting from excessive accumulation and availability of small arms and light weapons. You can also find information about modes of accumulation and transfer and policy options for dealing with the negative effects for small arms and light weapons.
Were you or your loved one arrested for allegedly unlawfully carrying a weapon in Plano or another community in Collin County? You will want to be sure that you retain legal counsel before going to court.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. We can answer all of your legal questions when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.